I had some time to tinker on Saturday, and I got tired of tripping over a big box in the basement containing my windshield gasket. Naturally, I saw this as a sign and brought it out to do a test-fitting. I’ve always been confused as to how this thing gets installed, as it’s a huge circle of rubber with the weight of a Burmese python and the cross-section of West Virginia. Which side is up? Which flap do you fit into the groove on the windshield?

I did some tinkering, looked at an old video I’d saved, and finally solved the puzzle: the flattest, squarest section is in the back (facing the passengers) while the part with 17 folds goes in front. Once the glass is in place, one of those folds tucks down into another fold and forms a self-sealing lock, holding the glass in place.

This was also a good time to make the call on which frame will be the replacement: It’ll be the darker gold frame, which has less rust around the inside lip and elsewhere. I’m going to try to repair some of the rust damage on the lip when I get a welder, and then I have to figure out how to paint it before it goes on. But that would be an excellent project for the summer (and long overdue).

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Date posted: May 16, 2022 | Filed under Future Plans, Repairs, Scout | Comments Off on Gasket

My (somewhat limited) social media feeds, email inboxes, and texts all blew up with people sending me the news that the Volkswagen group is thinking about making a new electric SUV called the Scout. It’s a long, convoluted story, but the Autopian breaks down how VW has come into possession of the Scout trademark through its purchase of Navistar after a colossal strategic mistake in building diesel engines.

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Date posted: May 12, 2022 | Filed under Scout | Comments Off on Electric Scout?

The weather on Saturday was 70 and sunny, so I decided to tackle the turn signal canceler not he steering column. I’ve previously covered how I pulled apart my spare column but this time I took more pictures, and I’ll repeat it here. The only difference between that column and this one is the shape; my  spare has a round horn button while the one on Peer Pressure has a larger triangular horn button.

First, park the truck with the wheels pointed straight. Now unscrew the horn cover: it’s a two-piece mount. There are six screws on the backside that need to come out. From there you should be able to pull it off and see the mount:

Pull the horn leads off (you did disconnect the battery, didn’t you?) and pull the three screws visible out. The mount should come off, leaving this:

Next, unscrew the locking nut off the center bolt (it’s already out in the picture above). Use your steering wheel puller to get the wheel itself off: screw the two long bolts into the holes at 1 and 7 o’clock above, put the center bolt on the head of the nut, and start cinching down.

With that off, you’re looking at the plate that holds all of the guts in place. You need a different tool now to push it down and expose a lockring on the center of the stem. I built my tool out of some steel bar and bench stock bolts:

Use a couple of small flathead screwdrivers to widen the locking enough to slide it up out of the groove, and then slide it off the stem . The plate should come off easily then. You’ll see the turn signal canceling cam:

There should be a post holding a spring sticking out of the cam. Grab the spring and pull the cam off. (The post on mine was cracked and broken; this could be why mine wasn’t working).

From here you’ve got to unscrew both the turn signal lever at 9 o’clock and the hazard button at about 4 o’clock. Next, there are three bolts that hold the entire lever assembly in place—you’ll have to use the selector to move the assembly to reach all three.

Now, scoot down below the column and find the wire harness on the right side. Carefully unclip the smaller section of the two from the larger with a flathead screwdriver and push it aside. The entire lever assembly should now be free to pull up through the column. Take note of how it snakes down through the collar and mount, because you have to feed the new one through the same way.

Visually, there isn’t anything wrong with my stock harness. The plastic isn’t completely exploded like the spare was; I have no idea why it wasn’t working correctly, but I suspect it had something to do with the cam being broken. I did notice there’s a spring missing at about 9 o’clock in the picture below, which I never found in the column. Regardless, I fed the new one down through the mounts and clipped it back into place on the column.

Then, I used some steel wool to clean the rust off the turn signal lever and put that back in place.

From there, it’s just reassembling what you just took apart, in the right order. Remember how you parked with the wheels straight? make sure you align the wheel up correctly (I aligned mine in a Y shape so that I can see the dashboard through the top of the spokes).

Hooking the battery back up, the truck roared back to life, and both of the turn signals now cancel as advertised! My days of puttering along in the middle lane with my blinker on are (hopefully) over with.

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Date posted: April 30, 2022 | Filed under Repairs, Scout, Steering, steering column | Comments Off on Canceled

I saw this picture in a series from a parts truck listing online and grabbed it. The typeface is perfect; everything about this is perfect, except for the extra apostrophe.

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Date posted: April 25, 2022 | Filed under design, Scout | Comments Off on Scoutland

Well, looky here. There was rumbling on the forums and through the interwebs that someone was working on producing new wing window rubber for the Scout II, as nobody was making replacements and everyone’s rubber was/is cracked, rotten, hard, or about to be all of the above. I’ve got, between spare parts and whole doors, about five spare wing windows per side, and all of them have either  cracked rubber, a spring mechanism where the weld is broken, or a busted hinge. It was with great pleasure that I saw an outfit in North Carolina is going to be producing new rubber, for the eye-watering price of $375/set. Yeah, yeah, this isn’t an F-body Camaro or a ’66 Mustang, for which brand-new parts are everywhere, but I’ll have to really consider the purchase before I pull the trigger.

Tomorrow night, I’m headed out to the first proper welding class I’ve ever taken, and I’m pretty excited. My first “training” was in college in the sculpture lab after hours; a very brusque and attractive TA gave me a basic lesson in MIG welding for a six-pack of beer, and while she was detailed in her description, I had about 20 minutes of hands-on learning before she had to leave, and I was on my own to booger-weld anything I could find. I did a basic refresher in 2014 at the Baltimore Foundery, and while that was fun it didn’t improve my skills at all. This course is a professional 36 hours of training and in-class practice, and at the end of it I should know what I’m doing a lot better.

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Date posted: April 18, 2022 | Filed under Purchasing, Scout | Comments Off on Wing Window Rubber

I saw this Scout for sale on Marketplace, and something about it caught my eye. Not only is it a good-looking rig—the tires and lift are just right—but I like the color and condition of the graphics on the side. I believe this is an IH color called Grenoble Green, and it’s a value that isn’t too light and isn’t too dark, with a bit of metalflake added. I’ve been all over the place with colors in years past, but I think this might be the new frontrunner. I’d even consider the striping on this, as well—I think it’s probably my favorite design IH offered.

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Date posted: April 5, 2022 | Filed under Paint, Scout | Comments Off on Grenoble Green

For the winter of 2022, I needed a project to keep me occupied while Peer Pressure is in the garage. I figured I’d find a used heater box and overhaul it, and maybe in the summertime swap it in with a new heater valve, which is old and bound up. After months of looking and three different parts Scouts, I found a very clean box for $50 and snapped it up.

Removing it is pretty simple: there are two screws to remove on the inner fender and two nuts on the firewall; cut or loosen the hoses and disconnect two linkages. Then it comes out with a little wiggling: this loosens some 3/8″ foam that seals up the air collection and distribution ports. The one I got was in fantastic shape, and the foam looked almost brand new on both sides.

I sprayed the whole thing with PB Blaster and used an impact gun to pull the screws out, which allowed access to the heater core and motor assembly. This heater core looks to be in excellent shape so I may just clean it and re-use it; new units are $100 and don’t have 90˚ elbows at the connections like the OEM units do. This means that the hoses go straight into the washer bottle and you have to either splice in an elbow or finagle the hoses in an arc without collapsing them.

This one only had a bit of flash rust on the inner and outer surfaces. Even so, my plan was to take it down to bare metal and refurbish the whole thing, so I started with some spray stripper and had terrible results. It was able to lift the top layers of paint off but sort of gave up after that, so I shelved it and went to the blast cabinet. Lesson learned: sandblasting > stripper. After dialing in my secondhand Eastwood cabinet with a new pane of glass and a new ceramic tip, I used gravity-fed sand to blast everything down to bare metal, including the fan element. So satisfying.

I ordered a can of Eastwood rust encapsulator with the new tips, and coated the inside and outside of the box with it, figuring some extra insurance is always a good thing.

I found a square of industrial rubber at the local ACE hardware, meant for plumbing and other repair jobs, and used that to replace the brittle black rubber stapled to the flap inside the blower housing. I just bent the staples open carefully with needle-nose pliers, punched new holes in the rubber, and bent it all back into place.

For reassembly, I used #10 1/2″ screws to hold all of the parts together. I shot them with black paint first and then assembled the bottom of the radiator well. I found a roll of sealing foam 1/8″ thick and 2″ wide, rated for 150˚ and heater applications. The width makes it perfect for fitting on either side of the core and cutting down for other areas. The trick is to pad each side of the core so it doesn’t vibrate around, on both sides and top and bottom.

I turned my focus to the electric fan motor. The motor itself is in good shape and tests fine on the bench, so I figured I’d just sand and paint it, clean up the wires, and replace the connector. Someone had cut and spliced the wires and wrapped them in miles of electrical tape years ago so I pulled that off, cleaned up the solder, and put heatshrink tubing over the joins. Then I replaced the connector with a new Delphi 56 Series 2 Pin connector and closed everything up. Using the original rubber gasket between the motor and the mount, I bolted it back up to the plate and re-installed the fan (The fan itself got a light media blasting and then a light coat of rust encapsulator). I soldered a new connector on the ground wire. New motors are available from the Light Line dealers, but there are also units available on Rock Auto for half that cost.

Next is the hose and valve unit. The inlets on my heater core are 5/8″, so I got a 5/8″ valve from RockAuto for $23 and a length of 5/8″ ID hose from my local NAPA to cut down. With all of that in place, the unit looks really good, and it’s ready to go into the truck when the weather warms up. I can’t wait to install it and enjoy a working heater control.

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Date posted: March 14, 2022 | Filed under Scout | Comments Off on Project: Heater Box

Now that I’ve (mostly) got a new black rear seat, I’m looking at the front seats, which are gray, and thinking that I’d like to try and find front seats that match a little better. Doing some research on the interwebs this morning I found original sales brochures for the full run of Chrysler PT Cruisers and looked at the stock fabric offered each year. For almost all of the run there were two main colors inside: gray and beige. Some years they spec’d leather seats (some were even heated) but my unscientific research has shown that was mainly in early years and those seats also had integral airbags. I did find one year with a darker upholstery: in the 2009 model year they offered what they called Dark Slate Gray, which is as close to black as I’m going to get:

I’ve got an alert set up on the LKQ app for PT Cruisers in general but I think I’ll winnow that down to the 2008-2010 model years to ensure I don’t miss an opportunity.

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Date posted: March 12, 2022 | Filed under Scout, Seats | Comments Off on None More Black

We had a spell of warm weather this weekend that I decided to take full advantage of. I’ve been working on refurbing all of the hardware for the new bench seat for the past couple of weeks, and by Thursday I had the hinges all blasted, sanded, rust treated, and painted. Saturday afternoon I got out to the garage and bolted the seats back together.

Then I pulled the brown seat out, rustproofed the retaining plates, and put the black seat in place.

As I expected it went in fine but it does not latch to the posts on each side of the wheelwells. When the seat goes all the way back there are two latch arms that tuck under the posts, but with the height of this seat, they don’t line up—the latches bump the posts and refuse to engage.

This was the issue with the brown seat when I put that in, so I knocked the metal feet off the base of the seat with a hammer. With those gone, the seat was shorter in back and was low enough to engage the latches.

I puzzled over this for a little while and then came up with a plan that I thought was pretty smart: instead of knocking the feet off the perfectly good second base, I unscrewed the base from the brown seat and took the wire and flap sanding wheel to it. It got a coat of primer and then several coats of black enamel, and it’s now drying in the garage. When it’s ready I’ll pull the black seat back out and swap the bases. With a little luck it’ll go back in smoothly and latch as well as the brown seat did.

 

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Meanwhile, a guy I follow on Instagram posted pictures of his hinges, which he’d just worked on over the weekend with a product called Insta-Black from EPI. Apparently this isn’t a paint but a “blackening solution” for steel tools, guns, and materials. I don’t know if I’d spend $60 on the trial product just for some seat hinges, but it’s a very interesting solution.

I’ve also got to scoot the Tuffy box forward about an inch to clear the seat properly when it folds forward; the brown seat upholstery has taken a beating from rubbing against the box and I’d like to keep it as clean as possible.

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Date posted: March 6, 2022 | Filed under Scout | Comments Off on Be Seated

While babysitting a brisket on the smoker Saturday morning, I took an impact gun out to the garage and separated the hardware from the cushions on the black bench seat I’d bought a couple of weeks ago. The hinges were all pretty beat up so I figured I’d put them in the blast cabinet and clean them off, then wire wheeled everything to get it ready for paint. It took a little doing but I was able to punt the pin out on the latching mechanism to add some tension back to the spring. With that done I hung the parts in the garage and hit them with etching primer. They’ll sit and cure for a couple of days before paint, and in a week or two I can reassemble the bench and get it ready for installation.

I also wire wheeled the locking ring on the old steel gas tank, then used a hammer and screwdriver to spin it free. Pulling the old fuel sender revealed a rusted, corroded mess that looked like it had been dropped and “repaired” with a homemade filter at some point. Both electrical contacts looked completely shot, and the wire wasn’t even attached. Inside the tank looks remarkably clean—there’s a remanufacture label on the outside, and the inside is coated with some kind of sealant. I think it should be pretty easy to drop the plastic tank and replace it with the original, and hopefully I’ve got a usable rubber seal left on the plastic tank—that sender is only six or seven years old and should be just fine. I cleaned up the metal ring on the tank and hit it with some rust encapsulator. And the outside of this tank has a date with the wire wheel and some spray-on undercoating before I worry about swapping it out.

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Date posted: February 27, 2022 | Filed under Repairs, Scout | Comments Off on Sunday Puttering